Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Cookbook Project

I openly admit I love and own an insane amount of cookbooks. Some may say I have an obsession with the amount I own, but in my defense, I've been collecting books for years.

When friends and family ask how many books I own, I instantly respond: "Oh, about 250". The truth is I have no clue. I have cookbooks in my living room, hall closet, office, back room off bedroom and my attic. I've never counted them and recently been contemplating how long it would take me to finish all the reading books I've purchased or projects I've started. As I was relaxing this past weekend on my living couch, I took a hard look at the cookbooks I walk by everyday and thought it's time to count my books. However, I don't want to just count them, I want to use them.

When I first started buying my own cookbooks, I wouldn't buy one unless I knew I was going to use it. Over the years, when I cooked from a recipe in one of my cookbooks, I'd make notes next to the recipe of when I cooked it, who for, any adjustments made, and final opinions of the recipe from me and the people who sampled the recipe with me.

Based upon my desire to know how many books I own, I decided to create my own personal Cookbook Project. Every week, I am going to cook 1 recipe from a minimum of 2 cookbooks. My husband has offered to lend some help. I'll pick out various recipes in the books and he'll be the one who decides which one is going to be cooked. Because he likes to cook, I'm hoping to rope him into actually helping me.

Once a week I'll post the recipes selected, books chosen, personal notes about it and maybe pics of the end result. In my personal notes I'll will tell a little bit about why/when I bought the book, difficulty, if I were to make any changes to the recipe and what they'd be, and of course I am going to note whether I'd make this recipe again.

I'm looking forward to getting started and have already selected my first 2 recipes I plan on making this weekend.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Etcetera, Etcetera, Etcetera...

I'm in a book club and next month I get to select the book we're going to read. When I started thinking about my choice, I started to go to the New York Times' Sunday book review section before it hit me: I own many books I haven't read yet, why am I going outside my own stash?

Of course, this thought naturally progressed to the next one: How many books, magazines or projects have I not read, finished or even started? Am I a procrastinator? Hell yes, when it comes to cleaning. I have a sister who loves to clean, and while I love the results, I seem to be missing that gene. However, for everything else, I realized I have a lot of open projects because I have a lot of interests. I guess you could say I like shiny objects, but in this case, objects = interests. And I realized this makes me happy.

I've always wondered if there is an age where your curiosity to try or learn new things shuts off. I'm happy to say it hasn't happened to me yet. However, I would like to take the next year to act on/finish/make a dent in my books, interests (cooking, writing) or projects (I really thought recycling old t-shirts into squares for a quilt was a great idea. However, I've had a bag full of squares in my back room for the past year, maybe it's now time to create the quilt. Granted, I'm calling it the "ugly quilt" because I've never made one, but have started asking older sister questions on how to do this since she made one years ago).

When I asked my sister, "Yoga Girl", if she had a lot of unfinished projects she said without skipping a beat "of course". "How could I not when I'm never home." I forgot how the routine of daily life prevents me from finishing every project. However, I'm now intrigued to want to start completing some of what I think is open just to see if the book lived up to it's book cover; or if I have the patience to transform a bunch of fabric squares into my new picnic quilt (really, did you think this 1st time creation would go on my bed?).

As I was thinking about this subject, while content with having a lot of unread books on my shelves or unfinished projects because it means I'm still curious about anything, I have to wonder am I the norm? Are there more people out there like me with the unread books and projects that take a decade* to complete; or do most people buy and read a book before they start another one? I'd be curious to know.

*For the record, I consider organizing my attic as a cleaning project and since I've already stated that I procrastinate when it comes to cleaning, I'm not going to put that into the same bucket as an unfinished project of interest.